Email Privacy And CAN SPAM Laws To Be Aware Of

Much like privacy Laws regarding postal and privacy, sending email also has binding privacy legislation that must be followed. These Laws are referred to as the CAN SPAM Act. If you’re going to be sending email to subscribers, you need to know about CAN-SPAM Law and how to be complaint.

CAN-SPAM Law: A Brief History

CAN-SPAM Law is a shortened version of the name of Public Law No. 108-187, which was signed into Law by President George W. Bush on December 16, 2003. The full name of the Law and bill was Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003. Of course, the name was also a play on the fact that unsolicited and unwanted email is typically referred to as “spam.” The Law gives the U.S. Federal Trade Commission the right to enforce the standards of the law (which we’ll discuss in detail below). You may think, based on the amount of unwanted and unsolicited email that you receive daily, that the Law is not particularly effective. However, as a sender of email, you are still governed by it. If the proper complaints are filed against you and you are found to be in violation of CAN-SPAM Law, then you are subject to large fines. Fortunately, being in compliance of CAN-SPAM Law is quite simply if you follow a few basic rules.

What Type of Email Sending Does CAN-SPAM Law Cover?

It’s also misleading to think that CAN-SPAM Law only applies to large bulk email sends. CAN-SPAM Law covers all commercial email messages. What does that mean? According to the wording of the Law, it means “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.” That includes email that promotes content on a commercial website, so if your website makes any money at all and your email links back to it, you are liable under CAN-SPAM Law.

What Are the CAN-SPAM Law Fines?

Each separate email in violation of CAN-SPAM Law is liable for a fine of up to $16,000.

How Do I Make Sure that I’m CAN-SPAM Law Compliant?

There is good news. It’s very easy to be CAN-SPAM Law complaintCAN-SPAM Law complaint. Here are the steps that you need to follow.

Don’t Use False or Misleading Email Header Information: This one is easy. Your “From”, “To” and “Reply-To” fields on your email as well as the routing information (which includes the domain name and email address) but accurately identify the business or person who initiated the message. That mean’s if you own and want to send an email to your users, the email has to come from and not from another url or domain.

Don’t Use Deceptive Subject Lines: Your subject line must accurately reflect what’s in the content of your email. If your email contains an offer for 10% off of a Persian rug, your subject line can’t say that the Persian rug is free or talk about a completely unrelated topic just to incite people to open the email.

Identify That the Email is An Ad: You can do this in very subtle ways as the law is not detailed on it. However, somewhere your email must reveal that the message is an advertisement. A “brought to you by” at the close of the email is often considered sufficient.

Provide a Physical Location: You must let recipients know where you are physically located via a physical postal address within your email. This is not optional. It can be a street address or a postal box address. However, you must provide a way for users to reach you via registered postal mail.

Let Recipients Know How to Opt Out of Future Emails: This is completely non-optional.Your email must always provide recipients with a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt-out of getting any email from you in the future. It must be easy for a person to recognize, read, and understand.. The best methods, which are usually automatically handled by email marketing platforms such as Comm100, will provide either a return email address or an easy-to-click-to web page where users can quickly unsubscribe from future mailings. You are allowed to create a menu in which users can opt-out of only specific types of mailings, but you are always required to give the user the option of opting out of ALL future mailings from you (called a “Universal Unsubscribe”).

Honor Opt-Out Requests Promptly and Honorably: Whichever opt-out mechanism you choose to use must be able to process opt-out requests for at least thirty-days after you send your email message, and users’ requests to opt-out must be honored within ten business days. You are not allowed to charge a fee or require a recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address. You may not make a recipient take any step other than to send a reply email or visit a single page on a website as a condition for opting-out of an email list. After people have opted out of an email list, you cannot sell, rent or transfer their email addresses, even if those are contextualized as part of a postal mailing list.The ONLY exception to this rule is that you may transfer the email addresses to a company that you have hired in order to help you be CAN-SPAM LAW complaint.

Monitor What Others Do On Your Behalf: Even if you have hired another company to do your email marketing, you are still the responsible party under the law as both the company whose product is being promoted as well as the company who sent the email are legally responsible. This is a particularly important point if you run an affiliate marketing program as one of your marketing channels.

Being CAN-SPAM Law complaint isn’t actually too difficult, and it’s made easier with an email marketing platform that monitors your CAN-SPAM Law compliance elements where possible such as Comm100. However, just because it’s simple, it doesn’t mean that it’s not important. Being CAN-SPAM Law complaint is one of the most important things that you can do as part of your email marketing program. After all, $16,000 per separate email based off of one error or customer complaint can add up quickly. Don’t be a spammer! Send your marketing email in compliance with the Law.

Acquiring Potential Customers And Email Marketing

As previously discussed, one of the most challenging, if not the most challenging, portions of the customer life cycle is the process of acquiring new customers. Customers who have not yet developed a relationship with your brand, product, or business need to be convinced not only that they need to purchase or register for your offering but also that they can trust you with their money, personal information and expectations. How can you use email marketing to help with converting leads and potential customers into active and paying customers? Here are the most common (and successful) techniques for doing so.

Provide Leads and Potential Customers with Valuable Content Free of Charge via an Email Newsletter or Auto Responder Series

Many times, potential customers or leads may not be ready to make a purchase, but they will have an interest in information that you can provide that is relevant to their lives and related to your field of expertise. For example, if you sell farm equipment, potential customers may not have an immediate need or comfort level purchasing a tractor from you. However, those potential customers or leads may have a significant interest in valuable content that is related to farming, such as weather predictions, crop prices, and updates on legislation about agriculture.

A common technique for using email marketing to convert prospects or leads into active or paying customers is to offer a free newsletter or auto responder series that provides valuable information along with promotion of your product in the body of the newsletter or auto responders To get potential customers or leads to sign up for this email product, you can offer a sign-up directly on your website pay for advertising on AdWords or other online media sites in order to directly solicit potential customers or leads to sign-up for your email list, or purchase or rent an email list. Again, if you choose to purchase or rent an email list, please be diligent about ensuring the source of your list is legitimate.

If you develop your lead or prospective customer list by including a sign-up on your website (or by collecting emails at a physical place of business), then there is no cost associated with the emails you collected and any customers that you convert to active customers will be pure profit. However, if you build your email list by buying advertising or by renting or buying email names, then you’ll need to figure out how much you can afford to spend per email sign-up to break even on your conversions. We’ll cover how to build an email list in greater detail later in this book. For now, just be aware that offering free information to users via an email product in order to build a relationship that will hopefully translate into sales can come with costs involved.

The key to successfully using an information-based newsletter or auto responder series to convert customers involves two elements:

  • The information you provide must be useful, engaging and valuable to your subscribers
  • You must integrate product promotions into your emails in a way that will convert without being obtrusive to the subscribers

The first point is, in fact, the more important point. The only way to convert leads or potential customers to active customer via an information-based email program is to ensure that subscribers continue to open your email and then begin to feel a relationship between themselves and your company or brand. If you do not provide valuable and engaging content, your subscribers will stop opening and reading your email long before they convert to paying or active customers.

Provide Leads and Potential Customers with a “Can’t Resist” Offer Via Email Promotion

Just as common as converting customers through extended information email programs is the idea of converting leads or potential customers into active customers through emailing them a “can’t resist” offer. You may email this offer to subscribers who have signed up for your informational email but haven’t converted to customers yet, or you may email it to a rented or purchased list. When emailing a “can’t resist” offer, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Don’t Send Too Many Offers Too Often

While great offers are often one of the most effective ways to convert leads or potential customers to active or paying clients, you can over do it. Once you become the email sender who has an offer in subscribers’ inboxes every day or every other day, you will see a spike in subscribers marking you as spam or unsubscribing from your email list. This can not only be damaging to the future of your email program, it can also be damaging to your overall business reputation. Limit the number of times that you send offers via email and pay close attention to your email metrics when you do!

Do the Math of Your Offer

In today’s cluttered online marketing world, you often need an explosive offer or incentive to really stand out. In many cases, this offer will need to be a loss leader, or an offer on which you actually lose money if customers act on it but make money in the long term based on customer repeat business. No matter what your offer is or how aggressive you need to be with it, make sure that you have done the math on what makes the offer successful before you send your email campaign. You need to know how many conversions you need to get and what the value of those conversions needs to be over an extended period of time before you put your offer out there in the world. Don’t just send an offer to leads or prospective customers to convert them to active customers until you are sure that you can make money off of it in the longer term!

Be Careful With Your Email Wording

Emails with special offers can be particularly susceptible to ending up in the spam or junk folder because they are often filled with spam words that email service providers have flagged as “spam” such as “free”, “discount” “special offer” and “on sale.” Be careful when constructing your special offer email so that you use trigger and action words without creating an email that email service providers will think is spam. Your email can only be effective if it actually gets into your targets’ inboxes.

Make Terms and Conditions Available

Most importantly, surely any offer you present will have terms and conditions applied to it. After all, you don’t want potential customers to be able to buy ten products all at an eighty percent discount off! Make sure that the terms and conditions of the offer are easy for your leads and potential customers to find so that you don’t experience a bad customer service backlash later.

Presenting leads and potential customers with great offers via email can often result in fantastic conversions to active or purchasing customers. However, the process isn’t as simple as just sending an email with a strong offer in it. Be sure to put thought and research into developing your offer, the metrics you’ll use to judge its success, and the creative for your email. A great offer can go badly if you miss a step in the process!

Customer Conversion Email Best Practices

Because converting leads or potential customers to active or registered customers is one of the hardest parts of the marketing cycle, it’s important that you optimize any of your customer conversion emails as much as possible. Here are five important best practices to keep in mind when creating customer conversion emails, whether they are information-based or offer-based.

Personalize Your Emails

Everybody responds better when you call them by their name! If possible, capture a subscriber’s first name or user name when they sign up for your email list and use an auto fill feature, such as the one available with the Comm1000 email products, to present the user’s name or user name in the subject line, the welcome line of the email body, or both.

Consider Sending from a Personalized Source

Because with a customer conversion email you are trying to instill trust and confidence and build a relationship that will lead to purchases, consider sending the email from a “personal” source. A special offer sent from the president of your company carries more weight than just a generic offer in an email, especially given how many offers many of us receive in our email each day.

Single Call to Action in Offer-Based Emails

If you are sending a special offer email rather than a series of information-based emails, use a single call-to-action to streamline user into purchasing rather than distracting them with other options.

Provide Company Contact Information

Leads or potential customers aren’t tied to your product or brand yet, so you want to make it easy for them to contact you with questions as well as to know that you are a legitimate business. Make sure that your company contact information is easy to find and clear in your email. And, of course, because you want to be CAN-SPAM compliant, make sure that your physical mailing address or business location is included.

Segment Your List When Possible

In many cases, you won’t have much information to work with when dealing with a lead or potential customer email list. After all, because you want to make it easy for people to give you an email address, you don’t want to ask for too much information when you request the email address. However, if you are able to get any type of information from your leads or potential users when they sign up for your email, such as gender or geographic location, try to segment your lists before you send the email to put the most targeted information possible in front of people. If you k now, for example, what the gender of your subscribers is, then you can use language and graphics that will appeal specifically to each gender.

Converting and acquiring customers is challenging, but email marketing provides a low-cost, high volume marketing channel to convert leads and potential customers into active customers. Over time, you will learn which types of information and which types of offers convert the best. The flexibility of an email marketing platform will allow you to easily change your campaigns to support those discoveries.

You may find that customer conversion email operates with one of the lower conversion rates of any of the types of emails that you use at various points in your customer’s life cycle. However, you will certainly find that, compared to other forms of customer acquisition, email marketing performs with a high return-on-investment and significantly higher conversion rate than many other forms due to its ability to speak directly to customers in a personalized and segmented way as well as its ability to react to specific market conditions.

A Story Of Email Marketing History: Evolution Of Email Communications

It’s always important to understand the history of something in order to understand why it’s important! Learn about the story of Email Marketing History to see how email marketing evolved as well as the challenges of offline direct-to-consumer or direct business-to-business marketing communications that email marketing has provided a solution to.

Before the Story of Email Marketing History: Remember the Days of Postal Mail Marketing?

Take a minute and take a walk to your mailbox. No, we don’t mean walk to your computer to check your inbox. We mean a walk to your actual, physical mailbox where people mail you paper letters and packages. Now take a moment to sort through the mail that you find there. Chances are that you will find several promotional or marketing flyers which are trying to sell you localized services. However, you may also find catalogs and promotional postcards for global or larger brands.

Now, take a moment to consider what the world would be like if postal mail to your physical mailbox were the only way to send you customized communications to market products and services. It would be a highly inefficient system. Because postal mailings need to be printed in bulk to reduce costs, your message could only be mildly customized to include your name. Then, whoever wanted to advertise to you would have to pay for not only the printing of the postcard, flyer or catalog to be mailed, but also for all of the stamps or postal costs to send the mailing. Finally, the marketer who sent the mailing would have to wait for a period of time for you to receive it. It may be several weeks until the post office delivered it, and it may be even longer until you removed the mailing from your mailbox and read it. Because of that timing, the offer that the marketer was sending to you couldn’t be specific and time relevant. Finally, the marketer had no way of knowing if the postal mailing had had any impact on you unless you then used a specific promotional code included on the mailing. There was no way to know if you’d even looked at or received your mailing!

Does this sound like an ineffective way to market your products or services to a mass consumer audience? Well, until as recently as the 1990s, it was largely the only way to get a marketing communication into the hands of a specific individual. Marketers came up with many ways to attempt to make postal marketing mailings more personalized and to better track their response rates, but the truth was that once you sent a postal mailing, figuring out if it worked or didn’t work was more guess-work than actual facts. The entire process was, and is, expensive, time consuming and difficult to judge the success of.

Fortunately for you and your consumer or business-to-business marketing needs, the 1990’s happened and the internet was born. Soon after, email began to become a primary form of both personal and business communications. Not long after the popularity of personal email exploded, email marketing became a specialty area for those with marketing expertise because of its improved capacity for customization, segmentation, frequency, relevancy of communications and, most importantly, tracking capabilities.

1991: The “Birth” of the Internet

While there are many people who “claim” to be the founder of the internet, experts say that the internet as we know it began in 1991 when CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) publicized a paper known as the New World Wide Web Project. Though a British scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, had actually been creating html, http and the world’s very first web pages at CERN as early as two years prior to the paper, the publishing of the paper is considered the “birth” of the internet. Not only did the internet change life as we know it, it also changed marketing as we know it!

Over the next decade, many experts estimate that the internet grew as much as one hundred percent per year in terms of bandwidth used. The greatest spikes of growth were seen in 1996 and 1997. Today, of course, you would have a hard time finding anybody who does not admit that the internet plays a key role in their daily lives, from information gathering to processing communications, primarily through the use of email and, more recently, social media.

1996: Hotmail Becomes the First Web-Based Email Service

One of the greatest benefits of the rise of the internet was the ability to use email, or electronic mail, to communicate with people. Email was fast, free and could speed up communications across the world in a way that most people had not previously imagined. However, during the first years of the internet, email was only available to people who fit into specific groups: college students using their college email address or employees who were able to use corporate email addresses. The second group typically had significant limitations on how they could use their email and whom they could communicate with. While some individuals could also get email services provided by their Internet Service Provider (ISP), those services typically required that you checked your email specifically from the computer that was supported by your ISP. Email was not a “pick up and go anywhere” type of communication.

Then, in 1996, Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith launched what was then called Hotmail(with the letters being a reference to html). It was the first web-based email system, and suddenly email was available to anybody who had access to the internet. That didn’t just mean people who had home computers that were internet wired. It also meant anybody who could use a public computer at a library or business center. Suddenly, email was no longer limited to just a small group of people who needed to communicate primarily with each other. Email was out of the bag to the public, and anybody who wanted to communicate with anybody else could do so via Hotmail. Not surprisingly, people loved the service and flocked to it. A year later in 1997, Microsoft purchased Hotmail for four hundred million dollars and renamed it MSN Hotmail.

Just How Many People Use Email Today?

Today, Hotmail is still technically the largest web-based email service in terms of raw users, according to the most recent comScore data (August of 2010). Hotmail is reported to have three hundred and sixty-four million users. Yahoo! mail is the second largest with a reported two hundred and eighty million users, and Google’s Gmail is third with one hundred and ninety-one million users.

Beginning of Email Marketing History: The Birth of Email Marketing

While email began as a communications tool for academic and business purposes, it soon became a tool for personal communications among friends, relatives and even people who had never met in real life! As people began to spend more and more time using email as their primary communications tool, smart marketers realized that email communications were the future of marketing communications and began to make the shift into using email as a way to effectively communicate with customers. Email Marketing, even in its earliest days, presented a number of benefits over both postal marketing and telesales as a form of direct-to-consumer or direct business-to-business communications. We’ll look at those benefits in detail in the next section of this book, but today email marketing is a robust portion of any complete marketing plan and has entire industries built around helping businesses of all sizes effectively email market.

Comm100 Email Marketing would, of course, be an example of this. Comm100 Email Marketing works to develop email marketing software that streamline the sending of email to consumers or business contacts with customized messages and complete tracking. In addition to companies that focus primarily on developing email marketing solutions, individuals have become email marketing experts as well. Most mid-sized or larger companies employ at least one email marketing specialist and may have as many as several employees who focus on nothing but creating effective email marketing strategies and campaigns.

Of course, you may not need an entire staff, but you do need to understand the basics of email marketing strategy, benefits and tactics of email marketing. We’ll cover all of those in this book to make you your own email marketing expert by the end!

Email Marketing Case Study: Improving Revenue With Email

How email marketing can improve your business, product or service’s success will very wildly depending on your marketing goals and the purpose of email in your marketing mix. However, what cannot be debated is that email marketing and email communications to customers absolutely deliver results. To get you started thinking about some of the many ways that email marketing and email communications can make a difference for you, we’ve provided one of our compelling email marketing case studies about how email marketing delivered results for an organization.

Email Marketing Case Study: How Four Emails Boosted End of Year Revenue for a Non Profit by 50%

The following email marketing case study was originally published in the July 26, 2011 edition of Marketing Sherpa. We strongly recommend Marketing Sherpa for always ongoing, up-to-date information on the latest in email marketing regulations, techniques and new developments, as well as frequent email marketing case studies on successful campaigns.

Challenge: For any nonprofit organization, December is an important month to generate donations. People are in a holiday spirit and, in the United States, the realization that a nonprofit donation can be a last-minute tax write-off. For HealthConnect One, which promotes the health of mothers, infants and families. December is a critical month for donations that will fund the nonprofit organization for the next year. While many nonprofits send postal mailings in December, HealthConnect One was worried that their postal mailing would get lost in the shuffle of holiday mail. So, in order to reinforce the message of the postal mailing, HealthConnect One began its first full-scale email marketing

The Campaign: In this case, HealthConnect One planned a four-part email series. The emails would get sent throughout the month of December. The first part of the email series would be designed to supplement the postal mailer, which included information, a call to make a donation and was personalized by using the recipient’s name and home address in the upper left corner.

The corresponding email campaign, however, had the flexibility to be more emotive, and the marketing team settled on the theme “Have You Ever Been a Baby?” to show that everybody had a way to related to the important work that HealthConnect One was doing. It was also a theme that the marketing team believed would stand out both from the nonprofit’s industry group (often focusing on heart-wrenching personal stories) and the flood of consumer email that is delivered to inboxes during December, the heaviest email marketing month of the year.

The team focused on the following keys in developing the email campaign:

Keeping It Simple: Each email template was simple. A large header graphic with a logo, a single picture of a baby, a headline, three to four sentences of copy and a link to donate (the only link in the email). There was also a “P.S.” statement to keep the email feeling personal.

The Four Emails: he four emails that the team sent in this case used the following email subject lines: “Have you ever been a baby?”, “Over 143,000 babies were born in the U.S. since our last email!”, “We were all babies once!” and “Happy New Year from HC One!”. Though each email had completely unique copy within the body of the email, the copy all highlighted the same four points: many thousands of babies are born in the US each year, not all babies have the support that they need, HealthConnect One helps provide support to families, and that donating to the organization would help those families and babies get the support that they need. The “PS” statement enforced that all donations would be matched.

What Next?

The HealthConnect One team then “scrubbed” their email list and determined which portion of their database was best to select to send the email to. They then developed an email landing page exclusive to the email campaign that reinforced the message of the campaign and included easy ways to donate money to the organization. Finally, they discussed and planned the proper timing of the sending of the emails, working both to space the emails out over time as well as to avoid holiday “slow periods” when people are not necessarily checking their email.

The Results

The results of this well thought-out email showed not only in the key metrics used to determine email success rates, open rate and click-through rate (CTR). They also showed in the overall revenue gained. All of the emails except for the email sent on December 23 received an open rate of greater than twenty percent and a click through rate of greater than four percent. More importantly, HealthConnect One exceeded its goal of $15,000 in donations and generated fifty percent more revenue in their December campaign than they had the year before. The ability to communicate multiple times with unique, personalized content that told a story and made donating simple resulted in a comfortable and successful December donations campaign for HealthConnect One.

Analysis: Email Marketing And Social Media

Social media have become an important part of the internet and online marketing landscape in the last decade. How do social media impact email marketing, and is email marketing still relevant in a world full of social networks? In this section, we analyze email marketing and social media and explain why email marketing is more important than ever in a socially-networked landscape.

MySpace. Facebook. Twitter. Google Plus. There are an increasing number of social media networks that, at one time or another, dominated internet traffic. Of course, marketing via social media has increased too, which is an obvious necessity since so many consumers and customers spend so much time on social media sites. Does it make sense for you to allocate all of your marketing resources to social media? No! Email marketing is still a very important part of any complete web marketing strategy. Of course, in the socially-networked world, you’ll need to combine your email marketing and social media marketing strategies together to meet different goals. Here are some tips and advice on how and why to merge email marketing and social media strategies.

Email Marketing Still Provides the Highest Return on Investment

The reality is that everybody from comScore to Marketing Vox have run studies and surveys of top marketers and one statistic remains true – no matter how big the social media networks have gotten, email marketing still returns the greatest return on investment. This makes sense when you think about how little overhead or time it can take to send an extremely targeted email to a very specific group of customers or users. If for no other reason than because you are a smart business person who appreciates the importance of a strong ROI number, email marketing should be at the top of your list of important direct sales and marketing communications channels.

Consumers and Users Do Not Switch Email Addresses – But They Do Migrate Social Media

Do you remember MySpace? What? You don’t? But that was just a handful of years ago when MySpace was the most popular destination on the internet (other than Google) and everybody had a MySpace profile and spent hours every day on the dominant social media site. Then, of course, Facebook arrived and became wildly more popular. At the time of this writing, it seems unthinkable that anything would take over Facebook’s position, but it’s entirely possible that, by the time that you read this, Google Plus will be the social network that everybody spends all of their time on. If there is one thing that seems to be true of social media, it is that users will eventually migrate to another social network.

That, however, is not true of email addresses. Certainly, sometimes people change their email address. But more frequently they simply add a secondary email address and use their older email address less often or for different purposes. The reason that Hotmail remains the largest web-based email service in the world is because it is the oldest, and, even if they don’t check it daily, most people still check their old Hotmail address at least periodically.

An email address isn’t as permanent as a postal address, but once you have a customer’s email address, you have a fairly assured way of getting a message in front of that customer. Changing email addresses is cumbersome. You need to notify all of the people whom you email with regularly and you lose what is often an emotional email history. Unlike social media, which have so far proven to be transient at best, an email address is an almost assured way to be able to reach most customers or users eventually if not immediately.

Messages Do Not Disappear from Inboxes

Once you send an email marketing message to a consumer, customer or user, that message remains in that individual’s email inbox until the individual either reads it or actively chooses to delete it. That means that even if the user hasn’t read the email, your email subject line is still there in the inbox reminding the user of their relationship with your brand. A message on a social media is not permanent. Once you post a message, you are reliant on your user or consumer being logged into the social media in a time frame that allows them to see the posting. No matter how many times per day your business updates Facebook or Twitter, you may not get the message across to a large group of your desired consumers. However, whether it’s actually read or not, email gets to your user or customer and reminds them of their relationship with you.

Email Marketing is Targeted while Social Media is “One Size Fits All”

The nature of social media is to protect a certain degree of privacy. Additionally, people do not always provide the most truthful information about themselves on a social media network. However, your email marketing database contains information that allows you to segment and target communications based on facts such as purchasing history, gender, age, and even geographic location. The most effective marketing messages are the most targeted marketing messages.Social media and social networks do not allow you to target messages effectively.

Social Media is a Brand Engagement Tool, Not a Direct Sales Tool.

At the heart of the matter, however, is the role of social media in your marketing strategy. Most marketing experts agree on one thing – social media is a branding tool, not a direct sales tool. A great part of the reason that email marketing continues to deliver the highest return on investment of all marketing channels is that how users behave on social media networks does not translate into direct sales. Social media users gather information and discuss products, they don’t necessarily buy products. Social media is important for brand engagement. It is not, however, typically a direct sales channel like email marketing is.

Email Marketing and Social Media Need to Work Together

Any good marketing plan is a comprehensive marketing plan. That means that your email marketing and social media platform should work together. There should be opportunities for users to share email contents via social media networks and opportunities for users to join your email marketing list via social media. One strategy does not mean that the other strategy doesn’t need to exist. However, the existence of social media networks certainly does not take away the need for a strong email marketing program and strategy!

Top 10 Benefits Of Email Marketing

Why does email marketing present such a benefit over other more traditional forms of marketing? Why does it drive better returns on investment and customer engagement metrics than other marketing techniques? Why would you invest the time and resources to develop an email marketing program at all? In this article, Comm100 presents you the top ten email marketing benefits to your business compared to other forms of marketing, including:

Email Marketing Benefits No.1: Reduced Time & Effort

Take a moment to think about the time and effort involved in structuring a direct-to-consumer or direct business-to-business campaign using one of the two most common offline direct marketing communications techniques:

  • Print Postal Mailings: You’ll need to allow time for a designer to create the mailing, typically through several lengthy revisions. Then you’ll need to allow time for the print mailing to be printed, cut and, if necessary, stuffed into envelopes. There will be time while the marketing collateral is being transported via the postal system and then time while you wait for the consumer to retrieve it from the mail box.
  • Telesales Campaigns: In addition to having to construct a telesales script, you’ll have to wait the time out while your sales agents dial through cycled call attempts to all of the sales leads or customers on your target list.

With email marketing, however, you can turn a marketing communications piece out in typically less than two hours. Using recurring email templates, all you’ll need to do is to approve the copy for the email and any changes to graphics, use easy database list queries like those available in the Comm100 system to decide whom to send to, and then just hit send. Weeks’ of work can be accomplished in just a few hours and by a single employee.

Email Marketing Benefits No.2: Real-Time Messages

As we talked about above, with a print mailer or telesales campaign, you’ll need to select marketing campaigns and specials that have a “long tail” because of the extended period of time between campaign development and implementation. Because a marketing email can be completed in just a few hours, you can literally send “day-of” messages to help reduce stock or promote a limited time special as needed. You can even send unique real-time messages to customers that arrive on their birthdays or anniversaries. With email marketing, short time frames are your friend, not your enemy.

Email Marketing Benefits No.3: Personalize Messages

Because print mail campaigns, telesales campaigns and even print, television and radio advertising campaigns must be done in a mostly “one-size-fits-all” format, it’s difficult for you to speak directly to your consumer in a personalized way. However, email marketing presents many dynamic opportunities. Not only can you send personalized email with your user’s name or login name, but many email marketing solutions offer the ability to feed in personalized information such as sales or purchase history. Also, because creating separate email sends is significantly less challenging than creating separate postal mail, print mail or advertising campaigns, you can segment your customer list into smaller lists and send very personalized messages. For example, you can select all of your users or customers who are from New York City and then write your email marketing copy to speak directly about New York City. With email marketing and communications, you can easily speak to your customers in a very personalized and intimate way that is not possible with other marketing channels and avenues.

Email Marketing Benefits No.4: Segment User and Customer Database Information

As noted above, because you can segment your database of customers or users with email, you can send extremely targeted marketing campaigns that will result in increased sales conversions simply because they are so specific. For example, if you sell flowers, you can find everybody in your database who ever bought daffodils and then send them an email in April when the first daffodil shipments come in. You’re then using your customer database to put the most relevant message in front of the customers who are most likely to respond to it, and that’s what good marketing is all about.

Email Marketing Benefits No.5: More Frequent Communications

Because email takes less time to create and send than other marketing and advertising channels do, you can communicate with your customers more frequently. Instead of only being able to send them a flyer or catalog once a month or once a quarter, you can easily send them offers once a week. You could, of course, send them email even more frequently than that if their email activity supports making that decision. You may want to note, however, that it’s one of the typical email marketing best practices to not send customer emails more than once a week. However, gone are the days when you were lucky to get a message in front of your customers once a month. Via email marketing, you can communicate with customers weekly or even daily!

Email Marketing Benefits No.6: Test Marketing Messages

Good marketing always means being able to test things! With email marketing, it becomes incredibly easy to see what graphics, headlines, offers and even colors your users and customers will respond to. It’s incredibly simple to simply send one version of an email to one part of your list and a second version of an email to a different part of your email list. Then, through the very precise tracking tools that email marketing offers, you can figure out which marketing message worked better to convert sales or user actions. We’ll talk in detail about both the great tracking tools that email marketing offers as well as common types of email testing later on in this book.

Email Marketing Benefits No.7: Information Spreading

When was the last time that you saw a customer hand over a postal mailing that they’d received to a friend who might be interested? Or have you have seen somebody clip an ad from a magazine and send it to a family member who may want that product or service? However, forwarding an email with an enticing or useful offer or piece of information only takes seconds and many users will do it. That means that your marketing effort has not only a wider reach but also a networked reach with people who, by forwarding the email, are now acting as your brand advocates.

Email Marketing Benefits No.8: Reduce Overhead Costs

Email marketing can be done at a very low overhead cost! You don’t need a ton of employees, designers, or marketing analysts. You don’t need to pay for printing, postal mailing costs, phone lines, or advertising rates. In fact, there are services, such as Comm100 Email Marketing, that allow you to host your email marketing using professionally-designed templates that you can then just alter to your own needs. An effective email marketing program only needs a great email marketing platform or service and a good marketer who knows how to put the right offers and the right copy and graphics in front of the right portion of your user or customer list. There is no marketing channel in which you’ll spend less to get greater returns on your investment than email marketing.

Email Marketing Benefits No.9: Exponentially Better Ability to Track Sales and User Engagement

There may be no better marketing channel from which to draw precise and usable tracking information to help you figure out what’s successful and what’s not than email marketing. Well-developed email marketing platforms such as Comm100 Email Marketing can provide tracking information on how many people opened an email, how many people clicked a link in an email, which specific link within the email was clicked, how many people complained that an email was spam or unsubscribed and, of course, whether your email even made it into your recipient’s inbox.Combine that with a business’s ability to track sales back to a source and you can identity customer engagement and response through an entire cycle with clear, easy-to-understand metrics.

Email Marketing Benefits No.10: Save the Planet with Email Marketing!

It may seem like a minor part of the big picture, but we’re all trying to be more environmentally friendly these days! When you optimize email marketing as your primary customer communication and direct-to-consumer or direct business-to-business marketing method, you’ll help save the planet by reducing the number of trees killed for print marketing pieces. We all want to help save the planet, and making a responsible decision about your marketing tools can help you to do just that while also improving your business’s success.

Those are a lot of measurable benefits of email marketing over other marketing channels! Of course, we recommend that email marketing be an important part of your marketing mix – not the only ingredient in it. However, as you can see, if you’re not incorporating email into your marketing plan, then you’re missing out on a number of benefits that can improve your overall sales and user engagement for a very low overhead cost and, in many cases, a very limited amount of time and effort.

Sending Bulk Emails ?

How can I send bulk emails to others without getting spam boxed ? I still didn’t start any email campaign or email marketing. Just want to know about this for a future program. Is there any good way to do this ?

You can discuss here using the Comments section below.

How To Create And Manage A Successful Email Marketing Campaign In 7 Easy Steps

Email remains the foremost advertising and marketing channel for many businesses. It’s the mightiest online marketing technique out there that allows you to interact with your audience and promote your business in a very simple yet efficient way. Crafting personalized offers for people who have subscribed to your email list gives you an edge over your competition.

Email marketing doesn’t have any pricey overheads – indeed, it even saves paper and postage! Its analytics bit is even more exciting. The ability to monitor opens, clicks and other interactions with your email marketing campaign gives you special powers – you can steer your content, design and central message in the desired direction. In short, you can achieve more people converting into leads and sales.

Let’s take a wild guess – among hundreds of emails your customers receive every day you would like yours to be read or at least opened. This is a tough one – so make sure to work hard on your subject line, email body, and Call-to-Action (CTA).

It all gets even more complicated when you think about anti-spam laws. There are many deliverability aspects that influence your campaigns’ reputation and inbox placement.

Before you start building any campaign, make sure to establish a clear goal. Is it more website visits? New trials? Or sales? Whatever the goal, your email’s content, structure and design should focus on reaching it.

Regardless of the challenges, e-mail is still essentially the safest and the most cost-effective marketing channel when used adequately. Don’t feel overwhelmed – we have compiled seven simple tips that will help you create and execute your email marketing campaigns. Use them as a guide or checklist that will lead you to email marketing success!

Step 1: Be Concise

When it comes to email content, it’s all about crafting a clear and crisp message. Start by choosing one central focus and CTA that you’d like to emphasize. Make sure the text on the CTA states the action you want the reader to make – the customer needs to know what to expect after clicking. Remove unnecessary text or confusing technical language that might distract the reader from your core message.

Step 2: Create a Beautiful Design

Attractive design can go a long way to driving conversions. Pictures will help, but make sure they are not essential to comprehending the message because many recipients will not see graphics on their email browsers.

Step 3: Double-check and Test

Your campaign has to render well in all email browsers so make sure you double and triple check if all the links and buttons in your email work and lead to the right places. Be 100% confident about every aspect of your campaign before you hit “send”. It might be helpful to send a test campaign to your colleagues to have extra pairs of eyes look at your work.

Step 4: Don’t Make Mistakes

Showing your campaign to someone else might also be helpful when it comes to spotting grammar mistakes. Even if it is human to make mistakes, having several spelling errors in an email campaign can leave a sloppy and unprofessional impression. Find out what to do when you have spotted a mistake after sending out a campaign.

Step 5: Create a Strong Landing Page

Design a powerful landing page with a clear and attractive CTA. Remember – landing page closes the deal, so its message has to be even stronger than the message of the email. Your campaign’s success is based on the number of people taking the next step you desire. So make sure this step is demonstrated in a crystal clear and appealing way.

Step 6: Optimize for Mobile

If you want your email marketing campaign to be successful, optimizing it for mobile devices is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must. Make sure that all the aspects of your email campaigns and landing pages perform well on smartphones and tablets.

Step 7: Sharing is Caring

Add social sharing buttons to your email marketing campaigns so your readers can spread your content – and give additional exposure to your brand. Note – when integrated with social media, email campaigns reach a much wider audience and produce a much higher ROI.

Wrap up

So how to produce an outstanding email marketing campaign? First, choose a professional email marketing software that is easy and fun to work with. Then take what’s unique about your business, keep your main marketing message in mind and follow these seven simple steps.

Kamkash is a digital marketing company providing content creation and top of the line marketing services. Their team of dedicated and enterprising digital marketing professionals has a vast experience in working with national and international clients. Be it research, creative writing, email marketing, blogging, tweeting – Kamkash team is ever enthusiastic to revolutionise the digital marketing spectrum from its core.

How Experiential Marketing Works: 7 Enlightening Tips

What makes a good story? Is it the happy ending? Maybe it’s the valuable lessons, or the hilarious, unexpected plot twists. But what makes a story just that — a shareable, captivating narrative — is the experience it describes. It’s the who, what, where, when, and how. It’s the tale of what happened.

As marketers, we love good stories. We seek to tell them through the messages and content we put out there. But while we’re great at telling those stories, what we don’t do nearly enough of is creating them. And that’s where experiential marketing comes in.

It’s not that experiential marketing is anything new. There are entire summits and programs dedicated to it, and the majority of marketers that use it say it yields significant results. And while we may have seen examples of its execution, many of us are still left asking — how can I do that? 

Manage and plan your social media content with the help of this free calendar template.

We sought to find out. We looked at some of our favorite examples of experiential marketing, and looked at some of the things they have in common. Here’s what we found, and the tips that you can take into account as you plan your own experiential marketing initiatives.

What Is Experiential Marketing?

According to a CMO magazine article on the topic, experiential marketing “is a mutually beneficial interaction between customer and brand in an authentically branded engagement.”

It’s authentic in the sense that it goes beyond sending messages to your audience, digitally or otherwise, and requires creating a live opportunity to interact with your brand, instead. As for its mutually beneficial nature, the consumer benefits by experiencing your brand in a tangible way — and you benefit when that content is shared. Consider that 49% of attendees at branded events create videos of it , a significant percentage of which is shared on social media. People talk about remarkable experiences, and the brands that create them.

It might sound a bit like event marketing, which makes sense — experiential campaigns do tend to be event-centric. But even when they are, the emphasis isn’t so much on the event format, but is rather on the type of interaction that people can have with a specific brand.

But what does that look like, and how can you pull it off — especially with a limited budget? Here are some of the best practices we’ve found.

7 Experiential Marketing Tips

1) Take advantage of VR.

Marketing tools like virtual reality (VR) and 360° video are steadily on the rise. More than half of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that offers VR experiences — and when a video comes in a 360° format, viewers are more than 2X likely to watch it in full.

I’ll never forget what Michael Rucker of OmniVirt — makers of 360° video content delivery technology — told me when I interviewed him about this kind of media. Its power, he said, is in its ability to give the user a “sense of autonomy” — one that provides an immersive experience, but still puts the viewer in control. He challenges brands to ask, “What are those experiences?”

That’s why VR can be an experiential marketer’s best friend. Like 360° video, it allows users to become immersed in something beyond their current surroundings — like an experience that your product or service provides. Shell, for example, used this technology to virtually transform users into a drop of V-power fuel and follow its path through an engine. That’s not something that human beings would ever be able to tangibly experience otherwise, which is what we think makes it so cool.

For that reason, we challenge you to ask yourself the same question that Rucker posed: What are those experiences that your brand can create? Once you know the answer, turn it into a VR experience — here’s a great guide for doing so on a budget from CinematicVR — and bring it to the user.

But where and how can you do that? That brings us to our next step.

2) Find people where they already are.

One of the core tenets of inbound marketing is to avoid interrupting your audience. Instead, the best way to turn strangers into customers is to bring them to you , instead of fighting for their attention in a sea of marketing messages. Experiential marketing is no exception, which is why it’s often best executed when it takes a “you’re already there” approach — knowing where your audience is already hanging out, and engaging them there.

It can work on a number of different levels. There’s the approach of installing something small but noticeable where your audience already exists, like Google did with its Impact Challenge. The search engine giant wanted to involve the San Francisco Bay community in deciding where to make a multi-million-dollar donation, and installed large, interactive posters in places where people “had the time to make a difference” — like bus shelters, food trucks, and restaurants.

That approach creates excellent opportunities to create experiences with local businesses, especially those whose products or services complement yours. We’ll talk more about partnering with other brands in a bit, but working with other businesses on these initiatives can benefit everyone involved, especially if it enhances the experience and helps you both reach previously untapped audiences.

3) Transform the space.

Every year, the city of Austin, TX is taken over by an event known as SXSW: A self-described conference and collection of festivals that “celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries.” And, it’s chock full of experiences created to promote the work of the above industries — like when Warner Bros. converted a local tattoo shop into a branded one that was named for a notable character from the movie Suicide Squad.

Source: Suggest

Granted, most of us aren’t creating experiences with the budget of a major Hollywood studio, nor are we marketing a hopeful box office hit. But that shouldn’t stop you from transforming a space into a branded one — especially if it’s one where your audience might already be, as noted above.

When Netflix revitalized the TV series “Gilmore Girls,” for example, it teased the premiere date by converting neighborhood diners around the U.S. into a famed diner that the show’s characters often frequented. And while we don’t believe it’s necessary to take your experiential marketing to a national level, we do love the idea of partnering with a local business to create a branded experience like this one, according to your product or service.

Don’t be afraid to think outside-of-the-box with this concept. Use things like holidays and seasonality to your advantage — for example, brands can use a holiday like Valentine’s Day to transform something that’s typically part of the “daily grind,” like a train station, into pop-up date night environment.

But that’s not limited to B2C brands. Companies within the B2B sector can partner with a consumer-focused business — like a local restaurant or coffee shop — to convert the space for something like “advisory speed dating,” where learning about your product or service becomes a fun, interactive, and inviting experience. Here’s an example of how Progressive Insurance by creating a pop-up motorcycle shop:

4) Seek out brands to partner with.

Of course, when you’re looking to transform a space for an experience, it’s probably not the best idea to just show up and take over. Not only do you likely need permission, but you also need to provide incentive — how is this partnership going to benefit the proprietors?

That’s a fundamental piece of co-branding: Ensuring that you both stand to benefit from the partnership. Creating an experience together can accomplish that, but you’ve got to be strategic about it. When you begin to plan your experience, do so with a partner in mind — with a contingency plan, of course. As you begin to determine what the experience will look like, start thinking about the co-brands that would complement and enhance the experience for participants, rather than making it redundant. You should each bring different elements to the table, for example, instead of duplicating each other’s efforts.

The same goes for the people who you want to to draw to the event. A co-brand that already shares your audience might not accomplish much — the goal here is to reach a population that would be interested in your brand, but might otherwise be difficult to reach. That goes for your partner, too, in that it should stand to benefit from exposure to your own audience.

Google once creatively pulled this off with Zappos. While it was marketed under the pretense of being a “takeover” — in that Zappos playfully sabotaged Google’s cupcake giveaway with a guerilla bargain of its own — we suspect the entire thing may have been planned to benefit both brands. Watch this video to see how:

The takeaway: Zappos and Google created an experience that required an “exchange” of both brands’ product and service. The audience was more likely to interact with both of them that way, earning them both exposure. So when you work with your co-branding partner, build an experience that allows the audience to engage with both of you — and at a place where they’re likely to already be present.

5) Teach people something.

If you’re wondering what’s stopping people from learning more about your brand, here’s a thought — it could be that they simply don’t understand it. Maybe that’s why 58% of customer experience experts say that simplifying products and processes should be a business priority .

But in addition to creating the valuable, teachable content that helps your audience learn more about your product or service, consider building an experience that accomplishes the same thing. That’s what Facebook did with its IQ Live event, where the company used data on how businesses use the platform to create real-life experiences and settings that brought the numbers to life — like the IQ Mart, which was a mock retail setting used to represent the online shopper’s conversion path when using social media for buying decisions.

The experience taught its attendees something, without a classroom or lecturer in sight. In fact, 93% of them said that the experience provided them with valuable insights on how to use Facebook for business.

It’s a great example of how B2B brands can build an experience for people who aren’t sure how your product or service applies to them, simply don’t understand how to use it, or don’t think they need it. Bringing your data to life in a way that lets people interact with it and spells out how your brand can benefit them can be rather impactful — after all, 65% of people think that live events help them understand a product. Here’s how Allstate pulled that off by gameifying the subject of insurance:

6) Let people create something — together.

People are more creative than they might think. After all, 70% believe that creativity is a valuable quality to have, but only 44% believe they fully embody it .

Maybe it’s up to us, as marketers, to put our own creativity toward allowing others to express theirs. That would be quite a remarkable experience to witness and to participate in. And while it’s not exactly new — American Greetings did that at SXSW when it invited passersby to stop and, among a sea of digital conversation, do some old-school crafting. The experience, quite appropriately, was called #analog.

But it didn’t stop there. In addition to creating their own works of art, participants were invited to contribute to a coloring book mural — essentially a giant, wall-sized page with shapes to be colored in — to create one, big masterpiece that contained a little bit of everyone’s work. It’s a concept that might look familiar, especially if you attended INBOUND 2016:

7) Add a digital element.

As if we didn’t love the experience created by American Greetings enough — the brand also made it shareable. The title of the initiative was, in and of itself, a branded hashtag that people could use to attribute tweets and other social media posts from the engagement. That made it easy for people to share the experience in a branded way — and remember those stats about how people love to share their event experiences online? Give them an easy, creative way to attach your name to it.

American Greetings took it further than a branded hashtag, however. It created a new location on Instagram that people could attach to their photos — “Analog by American Greetings” — leaving little doubt about who created the experience.

You May Now Proceed to Go Nuts — Within Reason

These tips should give you a good baseline for getting started on your experiential marketing initiatives — but at the end of the day, you’re free to run with them as creatively as you see fit. Of course, the scale of your ideas will likely match your budget, but as we’ve seen, many of these ideas don’t require a ton of money, but rather, a lot of good planning.

And that’s why we say to “go nuts” — if it aligns with your product, service, and brand, and you can afford it, give your audience every reason to not only show up, but also, stick around and share the experience. That’s applicable to every sector, both B2B and B2C. You can offer entertainment. You can offer something unexpected. Just make sure it makes sense.

What are your best experiential marketing tips? Let us know in the comments.

How to Use Hashtags on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

A lot of words have been added to the dictionary over the past few decades thanks to social media, but few have become so widely used and accepted as “hashtag.”

For a long time, the hashtag symbol (#) was known simply as the “pound” symbol. Now, I could swear that the only time I hear it referred to as a pound symbol is when I enter my PIN number to pay my cell phone bill. 

Manage and plan your social media content with the help of this free calendar template.

While hashtags were originally made famous by Twitter, they’re now used on many major social networks, including Facebook and Instagram. Let’s explore what a hashtag is, why they’re so great, and how they work on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

What Does ‘Hashtag’ Mean?

A hashtag is simply a keyword phrase, spelled out without spaces, with a pound sign (#) in front of it. For example, #InboundHour and #ChocolateLovers are both hashtags.

You can put these hashtags anywhere in your social media posts: in the beginning, at the end, or anywhere in between. (Read this blog post for more instructions on using hashtags.)

These hashtags tie public conversations from all different users into a single stream, which you can find by searching for a hashtag, clicking on one, or using a third-party monitoring tool like HubSpot’s Social Inbox. Note that, in order for a post with a hashtag to appear in anyone’s search, the post must be public.

What Makes Hashtags So Great?

Back in 2007 when hashtags were a brand new concept, Google’s Chris Messina realized the value of hashtags right away. He wrote that the “channel” concept of hashtags satisfies many of the things group discussions do, but without inheriting the “unnecessary management cruft” that most group systems suffer from.

In addition, Messina wrote that they’re easily accessible with the syntax on Twitter (and now on other social media networks), easy to learn, flexible, and works with current user behavior instead of forcing anyone to learn anything radically new. It also works consistently on cell phones — whereas, for example, the star key doesn’t.

A decade later, the hashtag continues to thrive. When used properly, hashtags are a great way for individuals and brands to make their social posts more visible and increase engagement. They can give people useful context and cues for recall, aggregate posts and images together, and update a group of like-minded individuals on certain a topic in real time.

Hashtags are often used to unite conversations around things like …

  • Events or conferences, like #INBOUND17 or #Rio2016
  • Disasters or emergencies, like #Aleppo or #PrayForNice
  • Holidays or celebrations, like #WorldNutellaDay or #NationalCatDay
  • Popular culture topics, like #GameofThrones or #PokemonGO
  • General interest topics, like #WinterWonderland or #ChocolateLovers
  • Popular hashtags, like #tbt or #MotivationMonday

The key is to use hashtags sparingly and only when they add value. Use them too much, and they can be confusing, frustrating, and just plain annoying.

How Hashtags Work On Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

Click on a social network below to jump to that section:

  1. How Hashtags Work on Twitter
  2. How Hashtags Work on Facebook
  3. How Hashtags Work on Instagram

1) How Hashtags Work on Twitter

A Twitter hashtag ties the conversations of different users into one stream. If Twitter users who aren’t otherwise connected to one another talk about the same topic using a specific hashtag, their tweets will appear in the same stream.

Here’s what a hashtag stream on Twitter looks like — we’ll use #MotivationMonday as an example:


Most of the good stuff takes place in the center of this page. For the hashtag #MotivationMonday, you’ll see there are a few ways to toggle the hashtag stream: Top (the default), Latest, People, Photos, Videos, and More.

  • Top: A stream of tweets using that hashtag that have seen the most engagement — which usually means tweets from influential people or brands that have a lot of followers.
  • Latest: A live stream of the latest tweets from everyone tweeting out that hashtag.
  • People: A list of top Twitter accounts to follow related to the hashtag.
  • Photos: A collage of photos included in tweets that use the hashtag. When you hover your mouse over a photo, you can reply, retweet, or Like the tweet with just one click. You can open the tweet by clicking on the photo.